A dry well is an underground structure designed to discharge polluted water, usually stormwater and surface runoff, into a natural underground aquifer. It is generally a sealed, porous-walled room that allows water to settle into the earth, permeating the soil and soaking into the aquifer.

Plainly speaking, it's a hole in the ground, adjacent to a home or building. The hole is filled with stone. Water comes into the drywell via drainage pipes that are meant to collect water from gutters, sump pumps, etc. This excess water seeps through the stones in the dry well into the ground.

As the water percolates the layers of the earth it takes many pollutants with it. Once the water has soaked into the soil, the clay, fractured and compacted earth will hold the water, trapping it in the rock. This water then becomes known as black water or sludge water.

The term "dry well" is widely used for wells that are designed to discharge floodwater in areas prone to flash floods. In this case the "well" is underground and therefore defines a distinct class of underground water resources.

One typical characteristic of a dry well system is the presence of impervious pipes. Usually these pipes are laid in the soil as they are being constructed and remain there permanently. However, as the water from the natural aquifer seeps into the structure of the house or structure above, such pipes may have to be moved or replaced.

What Is The Purpose Of A Dry Well?

A dry well has many uses and is most commonly used to extract water from sandy soils that may be too saturated to be drilled for conventional wells. It is also used for pumping water out of dunes and other difficult terrains where water pipes cannot reach. On a smaller scale it is used for extracting water from river beds or ditches, and from agricultural fields that have run out of water.

A dry well generally requires little maintenance if it is maintained properly, but some wells are more complex and so require regular maintenance to make sure that they are working properly. If your well has been in operation for a long time and is still supplying water, it may be time to consider replacing it with a more modern system.

Is A Dry Well A Good Idea?

Generally speaking, dry wells can be very effective to help homeowners manage stormwater but only if the stormwater is not contaminated.

Also, homeowners must know that drywells can collect debris, leaves, etc. so they require regular maintenance to keep them working well. Also, anything that is in your gutter that comes down the drainage pipes will also end up in your dry well.

We recommend that if you are considering installing a dry well on your property that you speak with a plumber to see if there are any other options that may work better for you.

If you have any questions about dry wells or are having some problems them, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.